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West v. State

Florida Court of Appeals, First District

December 5, 2019

Daniel J. West, Appellant,
v.
State of Florida, Appellee.

         Not final until disposition of any timely and authorized motion under Fla. R. App. P. 9.330 or 9.331.

          On appeal from the Circuit Court for Bay County. Michael C. Overstreet, Judge.

          Charles H. Williams, Williams Law, Panama City, for Appellant.

          Ashley Moody, Attorney General, Tallahassee, for Appellee.

          PER CURIAM.

         We agree with appointed counsel that the record contains no reversible error and affirm Daniel J. West's judgment and sentence. Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738 (1967).

         After the trial court appointed a public defender to represent West on charges of aggravated battery, false imprisonment, and aggravated assault with a firearm, he moved for substitute counsel and requested a Nelson[*] hearing. The Public Defender's Office moved for appointment of the Office of Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional Counsel (OCCCRC). The trial court granted the motion and appointed Jan Miron as conflict counsel. West was soon dissatisfied with Miron's representation and moved for the appointment of another conflict counsel. The OCCCRC also moved for appointment of a new conflict attorney. The trial court granted the motion and appointed Edmund Quintana.

         But West was still not satisfied and moved to replace Quintana with private court-appointed counsel. Although West's complaints about his counsel were legally insufficient (because Quintana was experiencing health issues) the court appointed Charles Henry Williams to represent West.

         Still, West was not satisfied. At a pre-trial hearing, Williams told the court that West did not want Williams to represent him. West asked the court to remove Williams and requested another Nelson hearing. As West explained why he wanted Williams removed, he became agitated. The court told West to "[t]ake it down about two notches. Chill out just a little bit for me. Okay?" West replied:

Seem like you got it in for me. I'd like a change of venue. You seem like you got it in for me. I don't know what's going on. I don't want him, and I'd really like to get out your courtroom. Now, you decide, whatever you decide. Now, if you leave me with him, I won't, I got nothing to do with him. I don't want nothing to do with him. Now, if you leave me with him, you and him decide what ya'll gonna do, because I'm having not having no parts of it.

         The court then called Williams to testify about how he prepared West's defense and about his interactions with West. West was given a chance to respond, and the court reminded him, "[w]hat I want you to do is take it down two notches again."

         West demanded that the court appoint another lawyer to represent him. West then criticized the trial court, saying, "[n]ow, if you're going to have a kangaroo court, go ahead on and have it."

         The court reminded West once more to take his behavior "down a couple notches," warning that if he did not, the court would find him in direct contempt of court. The court told West not to refer to the court in a derogatory manner as he had just done.

         The court then denied West's request to remove Williams. The court gave West the option of proceeding with Williams as his counsel or seeking approval from the court ...


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